To get a bill passed, a member of Congress must typically undertake Herculean efforts that involve lobbying other lawmakers, trading votes, and maybe even forging bipartisan alliances. Unless it’s a benign piece of legislation, such as one that names a post office after a war hero or commemorates an historic event, odds are the bill will die in committee. But this boring logrolling stuff just isn’t sufficient for Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), who recently discovered to his chagrin that his crude oil exports bill had been assigned ‘H.R. 666’
So on Wednesday he had the number changed.
“It quickly became clear that the original bill number carried many different negative connotations,” a Barton spokesman told The Hill. “We decided it was best to change it so people will focus on the content of the legislation, not the bill number.”
The number 666 has a bad rap, of course, thanks to the Bible, which in Revelation states, “Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” This number has become synonymous with the Antichrist, whose arrival on Earth is said will herald the beginning of End Times. Sometimes, 666 is also associated with Satan.
Let me tell you something. If there are people in Congress who’d have any qualms whatsoever about voting for a bill simply because it was number 666 of the session, then not only should they not be in Congress, they should be in a locked psychiatric facility. And that goes double for anyone who’d actually go out of his way to change the number of the bill.
In case you were wondering, the new number assigned to Barton’s bill is 702. That’s the area code for Las Vegas.